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WesternSFA
Midnight Crossroad
by Charlaine Harris
Ace, $27.95, 305pp
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
This is the newest offering from our favorite True Blood author. I’m actually pretty excited about this new series. It’s a mystery with a bit of a supernatural twist.

The place is a nowhere town in Texas called Midnight. It’s so small, all the residents fit inside the local diner. The story starts with the arrival of a new face; Manfred is a work-at-home psychic looking for a quiet place to live and work. He rents a place from Bobo who owns the pawn shop. Bobo has enough work and clients to run the shop almost twenty-four hours. Lemuel runs the night hours when the clientele changes…significantly. Dinner is had at the local diner and Manfred finds himself attracted to the only other young person in town, the daughter of the convenience store owner, Creek. Creek’s father and brother are very…private people and in Midnight no one asks personal questions. Manfred puzzles over why a smart young woman like Creek would voluntarily stay in Midnight. He also puzzles over just who Olivia is – a woman of many talents, handy with a gun even while dressed only in bra and panties. He’s pretty sure he doesn’t need to puzzle over his nearest neighbor, Figi, who runs a store for Wiccans. He’s sure she’s just as she seems – a nice, ditzy woman – until he sees what she can do when threatened. Manfred is exposed to much more than he bargained for when the whole town feels the threat…and reacts.

There’s the requisite dead body and suspects galore. There are plenty of red herrings thrown at the dear reader; enough to keep you guessing until the end. I’m not sure I’m satisfied that the author gave us enough to discern the true killer but, for me, that wasn’t the real hook in this book. The hook, for me, is the quirky inhabitants of this podunk little town. A series I can settle back into and start to get to know the people. A series with potential to spin in several different directions. We have quite a bit of background on our main characters, we have one mystery solved but at least one not. There is evidence that the author will keep the roster of characters moving and not rely on just these people. Change can be good while some things stay the same – Midnight will continue, I think, to be something more than a first glance – more than a whistlestop. Possibly someplace that Manfred will eventually call home and really feel like he’s there. I can hardly wait to learn more of Manfred, Figi, Bobo and, most particularly, Olivia.

Harris has a talent of giving a true voice to her characters, it was so easy to fall into Manfred’s head. She is also a master of showing just enough skin to make you hold your breath for more. I have high hopes for this series. Check this one out and then hang around for the next. ~~ Catherine Book

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